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Mountain Hiking in Nyungwe Forest

Hiking And Nature Walks In Nyungwe Forest National Park

Beside trekking primates, Nyungwe Park has a number of stunning hiking and walking trails that mostly begin at the Uwinka Reception Centre.

Visitors on a wildlife safari in Rwanda who are interested in nature walks and hikes in Nyungwe National Park must have a guide and one is included when you pay your trek fees.

Walks begin at set times; the first departures are around 9 am, with further departures around 11 am and 2 pm.

The different hiking trails in Nyungwe forest were established in the late 1980s in an attempt to open up Nyungwe to tourists.

Hiking these trails offers visitors an opportunity to a variety of birds, different primate’s species, and different types plants, plus several butterfly species.

Each trail is marked with a different colour and includes the short trails, intermediate trails, and long hiking trails used by different travellers on Rwanda hiking safaris.  Below are some of the hiking trails in Nyungwe National Park.

  • Buhoro Hiking Trail (1.8 km; 1½ hours)

Buhoro means slow and this short trail is an easy walk. It is, in fact,  the shortest possible hiking route amongst all hiking trails in Nyungwe Forest National Park.

It is 1.8km trail allowing hikers to about 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the trail.

  • Igishigishigi Trail (2.1km; 1½ hours)

Igishigishigi means a tree fern. The trail was named Igishigishigi due to the spectacular giant tree ferns which are more common here than anywhere else in Nyungwe National Park.

It is also considered as a shorter hiking trail leading travellers to the canopy walk. It is among the bestselling nature walk trails as many travellers on Rwanda tours in Nyungwe National Park are interested in canopy walk.

Birding is good on Igishigishigi Trail are there are wildflowers year round, and hikers have a good chance of hearing and spotting numerous species of monkeys and other primates.

The Igishigishigi Trail can also be hiked with the longer Imbaraga or Umoyove Trails.

  • Umuyove Trail (5.5km; 3½ hours)

Umuyove means mahogany in Kinyarwanda. The trail is named Umuyove due many large mahogany trees which are seen on this trail.

Umuyove Trail also offers great views of birds, colourful flowers, and a waterfall.

It starts from Uwinka Visitors Center and most hikers prefer this trail because it’s a bit short and offers a special feeling of cool breath from the waterfall and around the falls is plenty of bird species including water birds.

Umuyove Trail offers access to other side trails used for chimpanzee viewing.

  • Imbaraga Trail (10km; 6 hours)

Imbaraga means strength, reflecting how difficult the trail is.

Starting from Uwinka Visitors Center, this 10km-long trail winds steeply up forested slopes and requires about six hours.

It starts from the northern side of Nyungwe National Park and it is used by travellers interested in canopy walks.

This trail is geared toward experienced hikers; the trail rewards hikers with the sight of four scenic waterfalls.

  • Irebero Trail ((3.6km; 3 hours)

Irebero means a viewpoint, and there are magnificent ones on this trail.

The trail allows visitors to get clear views of Lake Kivu, a clear view of the forest and the park at glace from each side of the ridge.

  • Rukuzi Trail (9km; 5 hours)

This 9-kilometre trail takes a 5 hours hike to complete a full circuit. It is highly rewarding enabling hikers to encounter chimpanzees which are the major attractions of the park alongside beautiful vegetation, a variety of other primates and birds.

  • Umugote Trail (3.6km; 3hours)

This 3.6-kilometre trail begins from Uwinka Visitors Center and takes 3 hours to complete.

The hike on this trail provides hikers on Rwanda safari tours superb views of numerous ridges, rainforests, and stunningly beautiful flowers and on a clear day, the Kibira National Park in Burundi.

The trail is also a prime location for primate viewing and bird watching in Nyungwe.

  • Karamba Trail (6km; 3 hours)

This 6km trail starts from Karamba Main Road and takes 3 hours to complete the circuit. It is relatively easy to hike and passes through the former gold mine site, market and an army camp.

This hiking trail is regarded as one of the best spots for birding in Nyungwe Forest National Park as it is flanked by numerous fern trees.

  • Bigugu Trail (13.2km; 6 hours)

This 13.2km trail starts from Nyabishwati takes about 6 hours to complete.

The park’s highest peak, this nature walk provides hikers with incredible flora and on clear day views of Lake Kivu as well as hills and islands belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Kamiranzovu Trail (6km; 3 hours)

This 6km trail starts Kamiranzovu and takes 3 hours to complete.

Water enthusiasts will love trail as it features the park’s largest wetland, an ancient swamp that gives birth to Nyungwe National Park’s brilliant waterfalls.

Sadly, the last elephant was shot here in 1999, though the swamps still offer a chance to spot other large mammals.

This trail is, however, particularly popular for its rare species of orchid and birds such the Grauer’s rush warblers.

  • Waterfall (Isumo) Trail (10.6km; 4 hours)

Although not as famous as nature walks, the Waterfall Trail is a stunner of a hike and one of the highlights of a Rwanda trip to Nyungwe National Park.

It is among the few hikes that begin Nyungwe Gisakura side and takes about 4 hours to complete depending on your level of fitness.

Isumo hiking trail winds up and down steep hillsides through ancient-looking rainforest where the trees are festooned in vines and mosses and the air is heavy and damp.

The highlight of a hike to this route is a remote waterfall, where you can take a shallow dip and refresh your body after the hot and humid walk. 10 years is the minimum age for Isumo Trail Guided Hike

What To Pack For Your Hiking Trip In Nyungwe National Park

  • Waterproof sturdy hiking boots
  • Long-Sleeved Shirts and long trousers.
  • Rain jacket/poncho
  • A warm jacket
  • Hat
  • Gaiters
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Insect Repellent
  • Camera and binoculars

Nyungwe National Park Hiking And Nature Walk Fees

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$40
·         Foreign resident·         US$30
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX3000

·         US$5

·         US$ 30

Waterfall (Isumo) Hiking Trail Fees

Visitor categoryFees (per person)
·         Foreign non-resident·         US$50
·         Foreign resident·         US$40
·         Rwanda citizens

·         East African Citizen

·         East Africa Foreign Resident:


·         UGX5000

·         US$10

·         US$ 40

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